Stephanie Meadow gave herself a small Race to CME Globe boost with a strong finish to the Amundi Evian Championship as she clawed her way inside the top-40 at Evian-les-Bains.
The Jordanstown woman recorded five birdies and two bogeys in a three-under 68 at Evian Golf Resort to finish the week in a share of 40th at five-under-par, which will see her jump one place in the Order of Merit to 63rd.
Meanwhile, Cavan’s Leona Maguire finished tied for 65th in France as a level-par 71 saw her end her week at two-over-par, with Canada’s Brooke Henderson producing three birdies in her last five holes to clinch her second Major title with a one-shot win over Sophia Schubert.
Meadow, who has needed a big result in the final event of the season in each of the last two years to retain her playing status, will take any help she can get and although her move up the CME Globe standings is minimal, it is still a boost.
The 30-year-old birdied two of the three par-threes on the front nine – the fifth and eighth – to turn in two-under, adding another at the par-four 11th before she ran into trouble with back-to-back bogeys at the 13th and 14th.
But birdies at her final two par-fives, the 15th and 17th, saw her climb the leaderboard again and she will hope to use that momentum heading into the rest of the current European Swing.
Meanwhile, Maguire finished her week with two birdies in her final three holes on her way to a 71 as she finished a quiet week at two-over-par as her wait for a first Major title goes on.
Both Irish players were finished before the drama of the day began, with Henderson enduring a roller coaster day to roll in an eight-footer for birdie on the 18th for a 71 to claim a one-shot win over Schubert.
The Canadian, who secured her second Major title, saw her two-shot overnight lead evaporate after the first hole as she bogeyed and So Yeon Ryu birdied, which preceded a wild day that saw 13 changes of leader and a spectator pick up Nelly Korda’s ball.
Schubert made her run when she birdied the 12th and she would finish the tournament at 16-under after another birdie at the 15th led to a three-under 68, although a birdie putt that ended up inches from the cup on the 18th would prove costly.
That was because in the group behind her, Henderson’s wild drive hit a tree and bounced back into play and, after laying up to just over 100 yards, her approach ended up eight feet from the hole.
The 24-year-old, who had tied the lead with birdies at the 14th and 15th, showed no nerves as she stood over the final putt and duly sunk it for the win, sparking celebrations with her fellow players on the green featuring plenty of champagne.
“It was definitely an interesting day,” laughed Henderson after regaining her composure.
“Not the start that I wanted, but I stayed pretty patient, as patient as I could under those circumstances. Then going into the back nine, you know, the saying is that Majors are won on the back nine on Sunday, so I just tried to keep that frame of mind, and knew I was still in it if I could have a solid back.
“I was able to make a few birdies, which was nice, and obviously to make the birdie on 18, that makes it feel really nice.
“I just tried to stay patient and kept reminding myself that I was still in it and that I just needed some birdies, a little bit of momentum change to stay in it. I made some clutch putts and shots down the stretch, which really helped.
“I’m just super excited to have my second Major championship win; 12 wins on tour is pretty cool, too.”
Japan’s Mao Saigo made the biggest run from deep after a seven-under 64 allowed her to set the clubhouse target at 15-under, a score that was matched by New Zealand’s Lydia Ko, England’s Charley Hull and Korea’s Hyo Joo Kim as they shared third.
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